Photo of Guangdong Zhu

Guangdong Zhu

Senior Researcher and Group Manager

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Guangdong Zhu is the group manager and a senior researcher in the Thermal Energy Systems Group within the Energy Conversion and Storage Systems Center at NREL. The Thermal Energy Systems Group is focused on innovative research and development on concentrating solar power technologies and hybrid thermal energy systems. Guangdong joined NREL as a senior researcher in 2010. His work focuses on solar collector characterization, geothermal power plant modeling and analysis, and renewable energy hybridization.

Guangdong has an extensive background in power generation systems, heat transfer processes, and fluid mechanics. He is also well versed in stress analysis, efficient computing, numerical modeling, and related experimental validation. He has written dozens of peer-reviewed papers, reports, and presentations in the areas of solar thermal power, geothermal power, multiphase flow, and power generation systems.

Research Interests

Concentrating solar power

Geothermal technologies

Hybrid renewable energy systems


Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico

M.S. Thermal Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University

B.S. Thermal Engineering, Northeast China Institute of Electric Power Engineering

Professional Experience

Associate editor, ASME Journal of Energy Resources Technology (2020–present)

Executive committee member, ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division (2020–present)

Associations and Memberships

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems

American Solar Energy Society

Featured Work

A Non-Intrusive Optical (NIO) Approach to Characterize Heliostats in Utility-Scale Power Tower Plants: Sensitivity study: Methodology and in-situ validation, Solar Energy (2020)

Utilizing Solar Thermal Collectors to Create Geological Thermal Energy Reservoir for Seasonal Storage and Flexible Power Plant Operation, Journal of Energy Resources Technology (2020)

Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture: A Collaborative Study of Lunar Propellant Production, Reviews in Human Space Exploration (2019)

An Optical Performance Comparison of Three Concentrating Solar Power Collector Designs in Linear Fresnel, Parabolic Trough, and Central Receiver, Applied Energy (2018)

Hybridizing a Geothermal Power Plant with Concentrating Solar Power and Thermal Storage to Increase Power Generation and Dispatchability, Applied Energy (2018)

Evaluation and Comparison of an Adaptive Method Technique for Improved Performance of Linear Fresnel Secondary Designs, Applied Energy (2017)

New Adaptive Method to Optimize the Secondary Reflector of Linear Fresnel Collectors, Solar Energy (2017)

Thermodynamic Evaluation of Solar Integration into a Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant, Renewable Energy (2015)

History, Current State, and Future of Linear Fresnel Concentrating Solar Collectors, Solar Energy (2014)

On Characterization and Measurement of Average Solar Field Mirror Reflectance in Utility-Scale Concentrating Solar Power Plants, Solar Energy (2014)

Development of an Analytical Optical Method for Linear Fresnel Collectors, Solar Energy (2013)


Heliostat Error Detection, U.S. Patent No. US 11,250,587 (2022)

Secondary Reflectors for Solar Collectors and Methods of Making the Same, U.S. Patent No. US 10,808,965 (2020)

Awards and Honors

President's Award, NREL (2016)

Outstanding New Partnership Award, NREL (2016)